Warehouse Dispatch

The Theory of Evolution: Can Your Storage Keep Up?

Posted by Reid Curley on Apr 7, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The Theory of Evolution: Can Your Storage Keep Up?If your warehouse is growing in volume, but you don't have plans to move to a larger space, it is time to consider how and when your storage system needs to evolve to handle the greater demand. Whether this means mobilizing your shelving units, adding vertical carousels, or just upgrading to better bins and tracking mechanisms, there are many ways to improve overall warehouse efficiency as you take on bigger and bigger challenges each year.

Planning for the Future

Long term, your warehouse goals probably include increasing your volume and cutting down on waste. Based on the current trends within your company, you should be able to predict the timeline that you are working with. As the amount of product flowing through your doors increases, the demands placed on your system will become apparent. Any weak points in your current system will become evident, as product will get bottlenecked and prevent you from growing any further until you make major changes. It's important to plan ahead for these milestones before they become a limiting factor in your success.

Product Tracking

The biggest problem that many companies face during periods of expansion is the increased need for strong organizational management of products. Having an industrial scale tracking system that integrates RFID, barcode scanners, and well-designed storage guidelines will greatly improve your warehouse efficiency and ability to transition to higher volume demands. Upgrading your product tracking system is usually a precursor to upgrading anything else in your warehouse. Without it, the more bins you have, the more confusing things will get.

Increasing Usable Space

Now that you have an effective means of keeping track of it is time to turn your sites on the physical storage space you have available. One major upgrade that is easily implemented is rolling storage racks that can be compacted when not in use. This allows you to almost double the amount of shelves you have available for storage and eliminates the need for large open walkways between each set of racks. These systems provide a huge boost in warehouse efficiency and return on investment.

If you believe you have already outgrown compacted, sliding racks, the next big step is to move toward horizontal or vertical carousels. Vertical carousels are especially handy if you are storing lots of items in separate bins that can be rotated upwards and out of the way. Carousels allow pickers to stand in a single location while still having access to all the product they need to fill orders. These systems are obviously more expensive than traditional shelving, but once you have them in place, you have an unlimited amount of potential for any given warehouse space.

Ultimately, the ability of your warehouse to continue growing is highly dependent on the steps you take now to improve your warehouse efficiency. By utilizing a strong product tracking system, you will ensure that products are flowing smoothly through your warehouse and that all items are accounted for. When it is time to add more shelf space, you can opt for either track-mounted sliding shelf units or for automated carousels that keep all of your products easily accessible while doubling the amount of product that can be stored in one place.

Each major milestone you hit in your warehouse evolution will demand a greater set of storage equipment to accommodate the demands on your system, so it is best to plan ahead and prepare for the investments you will need to make to keep up.

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Topics: warehouse efficiency

Reid Curley

Written by Reid Curley

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